Have you noticed that when you visit any major college website and go to “athletics” that you are directed to a new site specifically dedicated to that program? There’s a reason for that: sports have very demanding digital requirements and their fans have different expectations than they do for other sites. The volume and speed of information that needs to be reported and communicated from the athletic depart dwarf what other school departments require. Ordinary web platforms just can’t keep up.
More and more, your high school faces the exact same challenges as these colleges. Let’s face it: your general school website fails as a platform to represent your athletic programs. Fortunately, dedicated digital athletic programs are within reach of high schools today, enabling them to lead their programs to the next level for their athletes, fans, and communities without a dramatic increase in resources. Following are things you should consider when evaluating digital athletic platforms and to justify your step to the next level.
“If you want to be a player, act like a player,” is what a coach and mentor once told me. His point was that if you want to be taken seriously on the playing field, you have put in the effort and be committed to improving the skills expected of a player in every facet. The same holds true for your program and your digital presence. That means getting the details right with an attractive site that stays current and is easy to navigate for users. It has to be responsive and deliver what the audience is looking for – and quickly. It should have a video or a streaming option. In short, it has to “look like a player” to a discerning audience. Remember, most sports fans don’t limit their interests to just high school sports. You’re not only being compared to high schools in your area but national college programs and conferences and even professional leagues. Once the bar is set, that’s the expectation. Meeting that expectation is how you’ll build your name recognition and brand, and dedicated platforms make it possible.
Single Platform – The One-Stop Shop
The last thing you need is yet another program, with another password, and a different system interface that you have to navigate just to do your job. Or worse, individual programs that you then have to figure out how to make work together and keep updated and synchronized. Single platforms enable you to keep all of your athletic program systems and data in one place. In upgraded dedicated platforms, you can update website information like scores and schedules, archive video, create social posts and more all within the system. That greatly simplifies the process and makes the best use of your time.
Faster than the News – Easy to Work with and Keep Updated
The one thing that isn’t changing is your resources – your hours in a day and staff. You have to be efficient in your choices. That’s why college programs go with dedicated platforms. You would probably be surprised to learn how lean many college sports information departments are. The efficiency of the platforms enables them to project a much bigger presence than what reality would suggest. By leveraging these tools they can get information dispersed quickly and accurately – and look great and have fun doing it.
Get Funded - Tap Additional Revenue Streams
How your athletic program is funded will always be a question, just like it is at the university level. The fact is that what’s acceptable will vary on a very individual basis. For some programs, having advertisements associated with your program is a non-starter. For others, it might be a no-brainer – if the advertising partner is acceptable. You don’t have to look too far into recent events to see where ad placements and ad platforms have run astray of one or the other’s value. That typically doesn’t end well for one or both parties. It’s the same for video broadcasts. A paid subscription to watch might make perfect sense or be completely off of the table. Make sure that you fully understand the model you’re getting into before you agree to move forward.
Additionally, consider camps. Colleges have known for years the power of camps in both driving revenue and interests in the programs. Inevitably, that interest is moving to high school athletics as well. Camps are a great way to bring in players for additional training and revenue. Integrating the camp process into your digital presence creates a consistent and big impression in what may well be someone’s first experience with your program.
Highlight Individual Players – It’s (Insert Your School Name)’s Top Plays
Every coach will say that you win with players, and it’s true. Seeing and helping those players get the recognition they deserve is one of the great rewards of coaching and can be a big push to helping those players get to the next level. Creating an identity and establishing your program as the go-to source for information makes your program more visible, and at the same time, your players more visible. Ordinary school websites are not set up to accommodate this type of promotion and highlighting of players and results.
Walk the Walk
Because athletics are the face of your school to the community and public at large, you care about how your program appears in every venue. Today that means digital, from website to streaming. The technology is there using the resources you have. The time is now to lead your program forward and create the championship college level presence your program deserves. As my coach would say, if you want to be a player, you have to act like a player. Today that means having a digital platform that accurately reflects your program.
Want to Learn More?
Discover how other high schools are creating a Championship Digital Fan Experience.
Ready to go now?